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Abstract

In social species, individuals who grew up together are usually relatives. Therefore, direct familiarity is normally a reliable kin recognition mechanism that is used in many species to discriminate kin from non-kin. It has been shown in animals and in humans that familiar individuals are rejected as mating partners in order to circumvent potential costs of inbreeding. Here, we tested whether direct familiarity also leads to inbreeding avoidance behaviour in male Pelvicachromis taeniatus, a small socially monogamous cichlid with biparental brood care. In mate choice experiments, reproductively active males were given the choice between familiar sisters and unfamiliar, unrelated females. In a previous study, both sexes of P. taeniatus had preferred unfamiliar full-sibs over unfamiliar unrelated individuals as mating partners. Here, we show that direct familiarity does not alter the male preference for closely related females. This result is in accordance with theoretical predictions, that inbreeding can be advantageous under certain conditions, and confirms previous findings, that active inbreeding is an adaptive strategy in P. taeniatus.